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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Shemot: Parashat Tissaveh: Al-Pi Hadrash

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

There a wonderful message we can learn from this week's parasha, Tesaveh. This message is "Al-pi Hadrash" which means that it stems from an allegorical reading of the verses and not a literal one. So please, do not confuse this message for the actual literal meaning of the text. (Rabbis employ such a way of passing over a moral message, for it makes it easier to remember when using verse that we are familiar with.)

"Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning" (Exodus 27:20)

The term in Hebrew: "Kateet Lamor" "pressed for the light" is the focus of this email. Rashi here explains that the olives must be pressed for light, and not pressed for "Menahot", which literally refers to the meal-offering brought in the Temple. This means to say that the oil used for the light in the Menorah must be pressed especially for use for the Menorah and not for meal-offerings (which incorporated oil in the making of the meal-offering).

Allegorically, we can also see in the word "Menahot" the word "Menouha" which means rest. In various tractates of Gemara the Torah is compared to light, being that it enlightens the world and our souls.

The verse, along with Rashi's explanation, can be interpreted allegorically: The verse is telling us to be "pressed" or humble when it comes to learning Torah- but not be "pressed" or humble when it comes to resting, Menouha.

What does this mean?

We should humble ourselves before the Torah, and sacrifice as much as we can to pursue its learning. However, we should not sacrifice and press ourselves in finding rest- i.e. constantly being consumed with planning and preparing for vacation after vacation. We need to focus on the main purpose of a Jewish life- a life of Torah, Misvot and Good Deeds.
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